Ordinarily I don’t do New Years resolutions. I already don’t drink or smoke, I’m generally quite an active person, and I’m a vegetarian with a minor intolerance to lactose so am already halfway to an MBE for services to animal welfare.
Contrary to what I sometimes lead certain people to believe, my diet is balanced enough. So I sometimes eat 2 share-size bars of Dairy Milk a day – who doesn’t?! My BMI is in the average range, my blood sugar level things are fine and my blood pressure is absolutely spot-on. The only thing wrong with me from a medical standing is that my veins are the size of a five-year old’s, as confirmed at my local GP practice on 3 different occasions. Oh, I also have a clicky shoulder but apparently I just need to stop slouching.
So with all that being said, there’s no need to change my diet or style of life. At least not yet.
Now that I’ve finished briefing you all on my current health and dietary situation, the point I’m trying to make is that your regular new years resolutions; the ones that are repeated without success year after year by the same people? The giving up alcohol, the quitting smoking, the losing 3 stone, the becoming veggie/vegan. Yeah, they’re not for me.
It sounds a bit silly but I don’t like the kind of resolutions that have an end goal. I don’t like promising myself that I’ll do something within a limited amount of time where the only outcome is success or failure. Because then I’ll feel like a failure when I fail. Because with my lack of willpower, chances are I will fail.
And even if I succeed…what then?! I suppose I give myself a hearty pat on the back and move on with my life. Because once you’ve quit smoking, you’ve quit. A hell of an achievement for sure, but that’s it.
The kind of resolutions I like – the promises I like to make myself – are the ones that I can keep working on year after year after year; the kind of resolutions that will hopefully, in the long term, enrich my life in some way.
A friend once told me that the reason they wanted to pursue a career as a doctor was because you can always keep moving up the ladder. There’s always room for improvement, for promotion.
That’s the sort of quality I want my resolutions to have.
A little while ago I was reading this post written by Flora of Mademoiselle World, one of my favourite blogs. The post as a whole resonated with me massively, but one line in particular really hit home hard:
“I’m so obsessed with exploring the world that I don’t even take the time to explore my own backyard.”
It’s like Flora took the words that have been jumbled up in my brain, unsure what they’re trying to say, and molded them together into a perfectly phrased sentence explaining my exact sentiments.
Over the last five years I’ve spent so much time trying to get as far across the globe as I can, to all the ‘cool‘ places, the ones that seem so exotic and faraway and the makings of a great story that I’ve kind of neglected the beauty which can be found in my own backyard.
Not literally in my actual backyard though. That’s full of Japanese knotweed and probably a stray cat or two. Not much beauty to be found there, I can assure you.
But Wales as a whole is bloody majestic, let me tell you! We have castles and sheep and coastlines and cities and villages and sheep and mountains and oh, did I mention sheep? Some of Swansea’s beaches have won international acclaim for their beauty. DOBBY WAS BURIED IN PEMBROKESHIRE!!!! North Wales even features as one of Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017 Regions. Yet despite all of the above being within day trip distance of my home, I’ve never been.
Just yesterday I was listening in awe to one of my colleagues recounting tales of his trip to Edinburgh and how he visited many of the sites that inspired JK Rowling in many aspects related to Harry Potter. I hung to his every word, thinking to myself “one day I’ll go there” as if he was talking about going to Mars or something, forgetting that Edinburgh is less than ten hours away from Cardiff.
I don’t bat an eyelid about spending almost 25 hours and the better part of £1000 flying from one side of the world to the other, chasing postcard worthy shots of things and places I don’t even understand, yet spending a tenth of the amount on a weekend trip within what is technically my own country is almost unthinkable.
What kind of logic is that?!
Moving slightly further afield, let’s talk about Europe.
While some may class this as more of the lane behind my house as opposed to my backyard, in terms of proximity and ease of access it may as well be a potted sunflower proudly standing right beside my back door.
With the likes of Ryanair, Wizzair, Easyjet and friends, it’s easier and more affordable than ever to quickly get from UK to almost anywhere in Europe. The flight for my recent trip to Riga cost only £50, and would have been even cheaper had I opted to stay an extra day. In a few weeks I’ll be heading to Krakow for a few days – again with £50 flights. It’s insane!
In one of my most recent posts (FYI, you can read it here if you fancy!) I went on about how travel shouldn’t be about crossing countries off of lists for the sake of it, and how you should go somewhere because you actually want to go there and not because Mongolia is the only country in Asia you haven’t been to. Although let’s be real, who doesn’t want to go to Mongolia?! It looks freaking awesome.
And I still stand by every single thing I said in that post.
But everything I already said there, combined with what I’m saying now has made me realise that I’ve spent so much time, effort and money chasing sunsets and waterfalls and adventures all the way across the world that I’ve neglected to open up my curtains and look outside at what’s right here in front of me. Which is beauty and adventure, excitement and new experiences.
So for 2017 I resolve to bring my adventures a little closer to home. To explore my own backyard.
That’s not to say I won’t be flying off to a different continent at all this year (India can’t keep me away tbh), merely that I’m going to give Europe and the UK more of a chance. Previously when thinking of somewhere to spend a month or two travelling, Europe wouldn’t even have hit my radar. I would have deemed it too expensive, too close and – forgive me – too boring. But now? Now Europe is my radar.